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Fort Bend County mother offers free senior portraits to teen neighbors

"You’re going to look at this picture and say, 'Wow,'" Sonal Shah said. "Because you may not have a chance to get other pictures like that."

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — A Fort Bend County mother has been photographing her kids and their friends for more than a decade. Now, they're getting ready to graduate high school and she is determined to snap one last round of photos.

Sonal Shah isn't a professional photographer. She says she just loves to take photos.

"I just take pictures and I share them," with parents and friends of her sons. One of Shah's sons is a high school senior. The other is a sophomore.

When her oldest was forced to finish his high school career from home, Shah knew she needed to take one last round of photos.

"The biggest thing he’s really missing is the fact that he doesn’t get closure," Shah said.

Three weeks ago, Shah began photographing high school seniors in her New Territory neighborhood. The details quickly spread to Nextdoor where neighbors began signing up for their own free 15-minute photoshoot.

"You have to learn to adapt," Shah said of her neighbors and the high school class of 2020. "I was pregnant with my older son, the one who’s graduating, when 9/11 happened. So, I remember that vividly."

For the class of 2020, it's been a roller coaster of trauma and tragedy. Natural disasters threw us off balance, heartbreak and loss exhausted our spirit.

But these kids know a comeback is always possible.

"They’re learning to deal with uncertainty pretty well, you know," Shah said. "Things can change in a moment’s time. And nobody was expecting this."

So seize the moment and let mothers like Shah snap one more shot.

"You’re going to look at this picture and say, 'Wow! OK!' Because you may not have a chance to get other pictures like that," she said.

KHOU Reporter Melissa Correa learned about Shah's photo project through a tip on Nextdoor. Connect with Melissa on Nextdoor here. 

RELATED: ‘Adopt-a-Senior’ group in Pearland matches students with 'Fairy Grad-mothers'

RELATED: #HoustonStrong: Neighbors find creative way to celebrate family, friends

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